Gilroy Beekeepers Association is an Educational Non-Profit Organization (501c3). Part of our mission is to support folks with beekeeping, and with establishing and maintaining their own hives, or adopting a hive.
We offer a series of introductory classes for fledgling, first year beekeepers (see here). We do not have a program for one-on-one support of beekeepers in their first few years. Many organizations have a “Mentor” program to support people in their beekeeping journey. What would this look like for GBA?
- Involve a formal training and certification process.
- A more loose “bee-buddy” support network.
- Something in between the above.
- Or both of the above.
- Bee-Buddies are not expected to know the answers to all questions, but they know where to find out.
- They know the nooks and crannies of club knowledge and resources
- Who’s who in the club
- GBA Website content
- Other resources
- When and how best to escalate an issue
- They know some beekeeping basics
- Installing bees
- Identification: workers, queen, drones
- Hive health - basic inspections
- Seams of bees
- Food stores
- Basic pest management
At the other end of the spectrum could be a Mentor program. This would involve a formal certification process. This process would likely leverage existing programs offered by UC Davis, Cornell, OSU, etc:
- UC Davis Programs
- Cornell Master Beekeeper Program
- Texas A&M Beekeeper Program
- Oregon State University Extension
Davis, Texas, and OSU all offer various levels, for example: Apprentice, Journey / Advanced, and Master. GBA might develop adjunct support and assistance for folks enrolled in a formal program. GBA could also consider providing scholarships to a formal program for disadvantaged/deserving applicants.
Other Clubs and Programs
Here are some links to other formal Mentor programs:
We are rapidly coming up on spring, when new beekeepers are entering the club and getting started.
We are very interested in your thoughts, and how everyone can pull together on this! Please take a few minutes and fill out the survey below.